The NBA hasn't had any good COVID-related news in a while, but the league got some Thursday regarding young Pelicans superstar Zion Williamson. The former No. 1 overall pick had to sit out Wednesday's game following an inconclusive COVID test and because the results of subsequent testing weren't going to come back until after the game. He was cleared Thursday and will play tonight at the Lakers. New Orleans could be very short-handed in backcourt with Lonzo Ball out and Eric Bledsoe questionable. L.A. lists both LeBron James and Anthony Davis as questionable, but the team always does that. The Lakers are -9.5 on the William Hill Sportsbook NBA odds.
Williamson is averaging 21.9 points on 55.7 percent shooting and 8.1 rebounds this season. Wednesday was the first game he had missed this year. In two games vs. the Lakers last season, he averaged 32 points and 6.5 rebounds.
Ball, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft by the Lakers but part of the trade package sent to New Orleans in the Davis deal in the summer of 2019, is dealing with knee tendinitis that kept him out of Wednesday's 111-106 loss at the Clippers – the Pels' fourth straight defeat. Ball is listed as out here.
Bledsoe also missed Wednesday's game with right eye irritation and is officially questionable Friday, but the team's game notes list him as Ball's replacement in the starting lineup. Nickeil Alexander-Walker figures to get a lot more playing time regardless after he had a career-high 37 points Wednesday with Ball and Bledsoe sidelined in his first start of the season.
The Lakers clearly are going to list LeBron and Davis questionable every single game this season with some minor injury; at some point, both of them are going to get a game off or two, but James has played in all of them and Davis has missed just one. Davis was legitimately questionable Wednesday in the second of a back-to-back and with a jammed toe but played as L.A. improved to 7-0 on the road (all three losses at home) with a 128-99 blowout in Oklahoma City.
Los Angeles has won six straight in this series; in three games against his former team last season, Davis averaged 36.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals. In four games, LeBron averaged 30.0 points, 11.3 assists and 8.3 rebounds.
New Orleans is 0-3-1 against the spread in its past four at the Lakers. L.A., though is just 2-6 ATS in its past eight at home overall.
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